Published on December 4,
Your Turn: Revolution in Richmond
By Andres Soto
Contra Costa Times Guest Commentary
On Election Day the people of Richmond re-elected Progressive Gayle McLaughlin
for our mayor and elected progressive Jovanka Beckles to the Richmond City
Council. We also resoundingly defeated Measure U by 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent.
A significant political blow has been suffered by the Richmond Corporatocracy
that has dominated all aspects of political and economic life in Richmond and
beyond for 100 years.
Chevron alone spent at least $1 million to defeat the progressive movement
in Richmond and was resoundingly defeated. Chevron's mayoral candidate, Nat
Bates, and City Council candidates Maria Theresa Viramontes and Ludmyrna Lopez
have been completely repudiated by the voters of Richmond.
The people also elected anti-Casino Corky Booze and, unbelievably, Jim Rogers.
pro- and anti-casino forces also brought in another $1 million.
The Richmond Progressive Movement has been a self-funded endeavor of positively
committed grass roots community members. Now with an overwhelming mandate from
the people and 5-2 majority, the Richmond Progressive Movement will do what
it has always done: bring the people of Richmond together for a healthier,
cleaner vision of our future and the future of our families.
The Richmond Progressive Movement has now democratically defeated one of the
world's most wealthy and powerful corporations in its own backyard. Chevron,
along with its allies and surrogates; the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the
Council of Industries, the Richmond Police Officers Association, the Richmond
Firefighters Association, BAPAC, BMW, the Contra Costa Building Trades Councils,
Contra Costa Central Labor Council, the Contra Costa Democratic Central Committee
and many operatives in the business and nonprofit sectors, all ganged up along
with the new exploiters, predatory gambling speculators, in a head-to-head
vote for the hearts and minds of the people of Richmond.
Our revolution is like the Prague Spring or the Orange Revolution of the Ukraine.
We peacefully and deliberately took the community's issues to the people to
let them decide their own future. The people of Richmond have shown their intelligence
and perceptiveness in seeing through the lies and false promises of the "Richmond
There is much damage that has been done to our community and the healing must
begin. But let us not forget that the people of Richmond have mandated a significant
new way of doing business in town. Accountability must be part of the new way
of doing business in Richmond. The days of cronyism, racism, incompetence,
nepotism, pay to play must now end.
Andres Soto is a Richmond Planning Commissioner and a founding member of the
Richmond Progressive Alliance.